Tony Barnhart throws out a little SEC love this morning with this post, in part noting that

… Reasonable (or unreasonable) people can disagree over whether of not the SEC is the strongest football conference in the country. But here is the rundown, by conference, of the 10 national champions since the BCS began in 1998:

SEC (4): Tennessee (1998); LSU (2003); Florida (2006); LSU (2007).

Big 12 (2): Oklahoma (2000); Texas (2005).

ACC (1): Florida State (1999).

Big East (1): Miami (2001).

Big Ten (1): Ohio State (2002).

Pac-10 (1): Southern Cal (2004).

The one fun fact that he doesn’t mention is that every school on that list went undefeated to earn its MNC – except for LSU (both times!) and Florida.

So maybe the BCS gives the SEC a little more respect than we give it credit for sometimes.



Filed under SEC Football

33 responses to “SEC! SEC! SEC!

  1. Dawgfish

    Even though the SEC teams are the only ones to not go undefeated and win the BCS, on 5 other occasions (FSU ’98 and ’00, NEB ’01, OK ’03, OSU ’07) 1 loss teams had the opportunity to win the championship. It’s not like SEC teams are the only ones to get the chance, they just for whatever reason seem to win, a quirk that should even itself out soon enough. God I hope UGa is not the first SEC team to lose one.


  2. Fair point, ‘fish.

    But this still tells us that an SEC team with a blemish (or two) on its record isn’t being excluded from the title game, as much as we like to harp on certain pundits’ praise of other conferences at crunch time.


  3. kckd

    That’s not the problem Senator. The problem is that the SEC teams with one loss continue to win this game. You can lump Florida in with that too if you go back to 1996. That would mean that since 1996 only four teams have won the MNC with one loss and they are all SEC teams.

    Now, if what the Fish says is correct it doesn’t look like we’re getting any preferential treatment.

    But what if in those years where two undefeated teams meet who didn’t play SEC type schedules exclude a one loss SEC team or god forbid (2004) exclude an undefeated one.

    I’d think we’ve proven our point that if we make the NC game we’re more than likely gonna win it.

    The BCS has done us no favors, but it was a nice try.

    And this is funny coming from a guy who thinks LSU was the best team last year.

    Would you have still thought they were had USC eeeked out a miracle win over Stanford late?

    Would you have still thought LSU best going into the SEC championship game if UK had made the FG in the UT game?

    Something tells me not.

    And those games had little to nothing to do with LSU’s play.


  4. Didn’t Auburn finish 14-0 in 2004? Where were they on the list? Oh yeah, they didn’t make the BCS championship game.


  5. kckd, I didn’t say the SEC got preferential treatment.

    My argument is that there doesn’t appear to be much of a bias against the SEC having a representative in the BCS title game, as often as we like to rag on people like Herbstreit for influencing the voters. No doubt the conference’s record in the title game has some impact on the decision making – a good thing.

    As for LSU, feel free to play “woulda, coulda” all day long. The facts are that the Tigers – unlike Georgia or Southern Cal – didn’t suffer an embarrassing loss all year, had the most impressive win of the season and, adjusted for strength of schedule, had the strongest overall set of stats of any school in D-1. Along the way, LSU beat seven ranked teams (Georgia and USC each beat five). So tell me what part of the resume doesn’t hold up in your eyes.


  6. kckd

    I’ve said before and will say it again. If USC had gotten there, you’d make a case for them.

    If Va. Tech had gotten there, you’d make a case for them.

    If OU had gotten there, you’d make a case for them.

    It’s not because you like LSU, it’s because they won the BCS NC.

    As I’ve said before, I haven’t seen one yet that you had a problem with. Supporting them fits your cause. It’s not a surprise.


  7. flightdocdawg

    It seems like two different questions are being debated here. On one hand is the tired debate of who was the better team at the end of the year, UGA or LSU. On the other is the one-sided argument of who deserved more to be in the MNC game. I think both kckd and the senator are correct here. Kckd is arguing that UGA was better than LSU at the end of the year and would have beaten the Tigers in the SEC championship game. I think that anybody not looking through yellow and purple glasses (and noting all of LSU’s injuries) would agree with that. The Senator correctly surmises that LSU had the more impressive resume of 2-loss teams: 7 victories over ranked teams (vs 5) and of the 2 losses, both by narrow margins in overtime (vs a blow-out @ knoxville). There’s my peanut gallery observation that’s not really intended to be an intervention in an otherwise entertaining debate.


  8. I’ve said before and will say it again. If USC had gotten there, you’d make a case for them.

    If Va. Tech had gotten there, you’d make a case for them.

    If OU had gotten there, you’d make a case for them.

    It’s not because you like LSU, it’s because they won the BCS NC.

    As I’ve said before, I haven’t seen one yet that you had a problem with.

    Here’s what I said on December 2nd, before the teams were selected:

    Let’s start with process of elimination. The worst resumes on the list belong to Southern California, Missouri (the only schools not to register in the top group of any of the categories) , West Virginia and Kansas (two lower and lowest tier rankings combined with a good showing in statistics that is offset to some degree by their poor SOS). Florida shows out well, but not perfect; with the Gators being the only three loss team on the list, it’s hard to see where there’s enough in their numbers to overcome that.

    That brings us to five. To my eye, the best of the remaining bunch is LSU. The Tigers do have two losses, but are in the top groups for quality wins and losses and strength of schedule and are in the second grouping for stats, and that, again, should be partially filtered through their SOS. LSU isn’t a perfect team by any means, but it shows out better than any other school here.

    That leaves Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech. The weakest of these four is Virginia Tech, with only one top tier showing. Also, the Hokies’ statistical showing isn’t in the strongest group and neither is VT’s strength of schedule.

    Now we’re down to three. Out of those, I’d lean towards taking Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ SOS is somewhat suspect (although it’s better than Oklahoma’s), but, on the other hand, they only lost one game. OSU is even with Oklahoma in the groupings, but it’s the Sooners that fall short with two losses.

    Georgia? It’s a close call. The Dawgs are a top tier team in SOS and quality wins/losses (but so is LSU). And it’s not that their statistical showing is bad (remember, Georgia didn’t show up near the bottom of any statistical categories) – it’s just that it doesn’t show out as strongly as the other schools do. Particularly OSU’s. And that, plus one more loss means Georgia comes up just a little short in my book.

    Sorry, but I’m not getting your point here.


  9. Chuck

    I think people generally recognize that the SEC is the strongest conference. Some pundits and voters fail to keep that perspective come time for the post season.

    That an undefeated Ohio State will always get in over a one-loss SEC team proves the point.


  10. dean

    Let me change the subject for a minute. I was looking at the attendance part of Barhart’s piece. The SEC led the nation in attendance for the 27th consecutive year. That sounds crazy. Until you consider 4 stadiums (UT, LSU, UGA & UA) hold more than 90-thousand and at least 3 more stadiums (AU, UF & USC) hold 85-thousand plus.


  11. Dawgfish

    Having done a little research, here are the BCS conference teams of the BCS era that have had a W-L record equal to or better than that of at least one title game participant, but did not get in:
    1998: Wisc., UCLA, Kans. St, OSU, AZ (FSU in)
    1999: no argument, 2 undefeateds
    2000: Miami, Wash.,VTech, Oreg. St (FSU in)
    2001: Oreg., Illinois (Neb in)
    2002: no argument
    2003: USC (LSU/OK in)
    2004: Auburn (USC/OK in)
    2005: no argument
    2006: Mich., L’Ville (UF in)
    2007: USC, Kans.,Mizzou, UGA, WV, OK, VTech, ASU (LSU/OSU in)
    So basically, Auburn 2004 is the only time an SEC team was in sniffing distance and still got rejected (nevermind UGA in ’07, another SEC team got the nod anyways), and yet we SEC fans still harp about that constantly. Guess you were right, senator. Hats off.


  12. Hobnail_Boot

    I can only speak for myself but my problem with Herbstreit isn’t that he’s anti-SEC (he’s not), it’s that he almost single-handedly put LSU in the title game because he had to cover his ass on the whole Miles-to-Michigan fiasco.


  13. Chuck

    Dawgfish, the whole point is that all Ws and Ls ought not count equally as a stone cold law of the BCS.

    League strength makes a difference in what your overall record will be. Ask Hawaii.

    That’s why so many of us other than the Senator and the Mayor want a playoff of some sort. So a 2 loss UGA team can beat up on an undefeated Ohio State team and prove itself worth of title consideration.


  14. Raleigh Dawg

    Chuck, what 2 loss UGA team, undefeated tOSU year are you talking about? Last year tOSU had 1 loss, and in 02, UGA had just one loss.


  15. Chuck

    Just a hypothetical.


  16. HVLDawg

    OK guys its just been a long time since football season. Try breathing into a paper bag. You’ll feel better in a couple of minutes.


  17. kckd

    I stand by my statement, you’ve never had any problem with any BCS champion to this point. You are a system yes man. Plain and simple.


  18. kckd

    Dawgfish, the schedules are so different that it makes no sense to use W-L record as a judgment as to who goes and who doesn’t.

    Everyone knew last year Ohio State did not belong in that game before it was played. And they had the best record of anyone from a BCS conference.


  19. Here are Ohio State’s strength of schedule numbers for the past seven seasons, according to Sagarin:

    #53 (2007)
    #38 (2006)
    #2 (2005)
    #35 (2004)
    #15 (2003)
    #30 (2002)
    #37 (2001)

    That’s an average ranking of 30. Just to refresh your memories, Georgia’s average over that same period is 31.

    20-20 hindsight is always great. But this idea that OSU doesn’t play a credible schedule is silly. It ain’t Hawai’i.


  20. kckd

    Sagarin, he routinely has the Pac 10 teams rated very highly in his system. Buy it if you like it I guess.


  21. Seeing as neither Georgia nor Ohio State are in the Pac 10, what’s your point?

    Here’s CFP’s SOS rankings for OSU over that same seven year stretch:

    #39 (2007)
    #35 (2006)
    #3 (2005)
    #9 (2004)
    #13 (2003)
    #23 (2002)
    #23 (2001)

    That averages to 20.71. Georgia’s average: 30.89.


  22. kckd

    The computers are not accurate, though they may be “unbiased”. If they were, why do you think they had to take away how much say so they have in who the NC teams should be after 2003?

    Remember??? the computers put the no. 1 team in the country in each poll no. 3 in the BCS.


  23. Again, what’s your point? Are you saying OSU doesn’t play a credible schedule? If so, based on what?


  24. kckd

    My point is this Senator, when it comes to a BCS school, if a BCS school goes undefeated then they are going to the BCS NC game.

    Let’s forget the conferences here for a moment.

    Do you honestly believe OSU was the second best team in the country last year?

    Heck, the pollsters themselves didn’t believe it after it was all said and done.

    If the BCS was supposed to match up the two best teams last year it failed miserably.

    And no matter what you want to say, year in and year out the schedules are not even close to being even. Some schools get off easy, while others, not so much. Yet if the weaker team gets through their schedule in better shape, they are more often than not ranked higher.

    We need someone way in college football to determine who is the best. There are too many teams and too few regular season games to determine this on most occasions only using one postseason game.


  25. Do you honestly believe OSU was the second best team in the country last year?

    Going into the BCS title game, yes. See my quote from 12/2 above.


  26. kckd

    But they weren’t. And that’s the problem, you were wrong and a lot of folks told you and the pollsters you were before hand. It was easy to see, but it doesn’t change anything. Record rules over almost everything regarding established BCS teams.

    Schedules be damned.


  27. I get it, dude, I get it. Really.

    OSU didn’t get whipped by LSU because LSU was a very good team.

    It was the schedule.

    And that’s why we need a playoff.

    Got it.


  28. kckd

    If OSU got whipped by LSU just because LSU was that much better then why not rank them no. 2?

    Would you have ranked them no. 2 in your final poll?

    Obviously you don’t get it.

    Maybe USC was just that much better than everyone else in 2004 as well.

    Maybe OU shouldn’t been ranked no. 2 in the final poll. Isn’t the purpose to match up the two best teams?


  29. Maybe USC was just that much better than everyone else in 2004 as well.

    It was.


  30. kckd

    And yet OU didn’t get the benefit of the doubt and stay no. 2. Why is that?


  31. I’m guessing that the standard response – that the voters revised their estimations of each school’s body of work for the season after the bowl games concluded – isn’t what you’re looking for here. So just go ahead and tell me what the answer should be. 😉


  32. kckd

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the purpose of the BCS to matchup the two best teams in the nation at the end of each year? The very people who vote on the BCS champion have as much as admitted two of the last three years that that matchup did not take place.

    Auburn never played USC and LSU never played USC. It didn’t do what it was setup to accomplish. If USC was that much better than everyone else, then again, why did OU get knocked down a notch. Pretty obvious that most didn’t believe they were THAT much better than everyone else.


  33. Your argument here boils down to little more than an after the fact justification.

    I’m sympathetic to Auburn’s plight in ’04. I don’t think the Tigers would have beaten USC, obviously, but it’s reasonable to argue that it wasn’t fair for them to be denied a shot. So from that aspect, I can live with a four team playoff, as I’ve told you before.

    You seem to have expanded your position of late to say that the BCS is fatally flawed, no matter what: the sample size is too small, the matchups aren’t right, nobody can really say which school is the best, etc.

    Even if I buy your reasoning – and I don’t – you don’t demonstrate how a single elimination tourney fixes these faults completely. Here’s just a couple of problems you don’t address:

    1. The regular season won’t be any longer, so your sample size won’t be any bigger. In fact, if you get your current wish for an expanded tourney, the odds are that the sample size will shrink.

    2. The human element that you complain about will still be in play. Unless you go to a pure conference champs only/fixed matchups arrangement, schools still have to be selected and seeded for the playoff.

    The bottom line is that single elimination tourneys aren’t set up to generate the matchup of the two best teams. If that’s your big issue now, I don’t see where you make any progress on the matter by advocating an eight or sixteen team playoff.

    One other thing. Teams lose to other teams for what I’d call macro reasons – one program is a clearly superior program on a general level – and for micro reasons – one school may not be any better overall than another, but may simply have an advantage with another school because of a particular scheme it runs or because of personnel. So I would argue that a win or a loss in a BCS game, for example, ought to be analyzed on a less simplistic basis than you spin here.